Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

September 5, 2013

Panthers open up at Newcastle

Mike Arie
Pauls Valley Democrat

marie@pvdemocrat.com — The start of the Bill Green era at Pauls Valley begins Friday night on the road as the Panthers travel north to face the Newcastle Racers.

The Racers and Panthers have had some epic battles over the years to start the season. This year doesn’t look like it will be any different.

The two teams match up pretty well on paper. Both the Panthers and Racers are instilling new offenses.

Newcastle is always looking to add a passing game to their already powerful ground game but they always seem to revert back to the ground game and just pound the ball at you.

“It’s hard to get a feel for them,” Green said. “They have shown a lot of different looks in game films.”

Junior Casey Freeman will guide the Racer offense. He was injured most of last year but is back and ready to go.

Zach Bergt will get a majority of the carries when the Racers do run the football. Shelton Johnson will also get some touches at not only running back but as a receiver.

“They have a big arm quarterback,” Green said. “We want to keep everything in front of us and limit the big plays.”

Sheldon Dillon and Tanner Robertson anchor a big offensive line.

The Racers have changed to a 4-3 look on defense to better suit personnel.

Dakota Norman is a force to be reckoned with at defensive end. He had 44 tackles a year ago as a sophomore to go along with four sacks. He is joined by Matt Myers up front who had three sacks a year ago.

The strong part of the defense is the middle where Parker Bolles and Dalton Berry man the linebacker position. Both have experience and a nose for the football.

Freeman will be the leader in the defensive backfield just like he is on offense.

“We want to use ball control and keep the ball away from their offense,” Green said.

This is a good but tough test for the Panthers in their opener to see how far they have come and need to go before jumping into a tough district.